Viking Offshore Welcomes First of Nine New Vessels to Fleet

Viking Offshore Services welcomed the first of nine new emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRVs) to its fleet.

The Viking Discovery was the subject of an official naming ceremony at Aberdeen Harbor, representing the first phase of Viking Offshore's £55million investment program in enhanced ERRV provision for the energy industry.

The nine-vessel deal is the largest ever single order for ERRVs and signals the company's long-term commitment to providing key field support services for the oil and gas sector. The vessels will be certified to operate in UK, Norway, Denmark and Holland.

Chief Executive Graham Philip said:

"The Viking Discovery is in the vanguard of a new-build program that sets new standards for the sector in terms of vessel design and the provision of added value services to customers, and ensures we remain the leading player in the sector.

"All the new vessels will feature a series of enhanced recovery and rescue features as well as class leading capabilities for in-field logistic services.

"We are delighted to welcome the Discovery to our fleet as part of a strategy to provide added value services to the European offshore energy market in the long term."

Aberdeen-based Viking Offshore Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Viking Supply Ships A/S, which in turn is part of Kistefos A/S, a privately-owned Norwegian investment company.

The naming ceremony was performed by Tracey Johnston, wife of Brian Johnston, The Royal Bank of Scotland's Regional Director, Aberdeen & North Scotland. The vessel was blessed by Aberdeen port chaplain Rev Howard Drysdale.

Viking Offshore has established a long-term financing facility with the Bank of Scotland and The Royal Bank of Scotland that, along with a significant equity investment from Kistefos, both funds the new-build program and creates a stable platform for growth

The investment program will allow Aberdeen-based Viking Offshore to replace older vessels in its current 31 vessel fleet while increasing the number of multi-role vessels and thus improving its range of value added services.

The 55-meter Viking Discovery, which will initially work on a contract with BP, is of the new IMT 955 design by IMT Marine Consultants of Montrose, Scotland.

All the new vessels, of similar design, are being constructed at the Astilleros Zamakona shipyard in Spain and are to be delivered in a rolling program until early 2009.

Crew facilities include a well-equipped gymnasium, sauna, conference facilities and 15 single en-suite cabins, with capacity for up to 22 berths.

Graham Philip added: "The design combines first-class recovery and rescue resources capable of serving multiple installations and offers the ability to undertake in-field cargo activities, offshore warehousing and delivery of essential supplies."

Viking Offshore's sister company, platform supply vessel business SBS Marine, has taken delivery of two new vessels in 2006 with a third scheduled for delivery at the end of March 2007. It currently operates five platform supply vessels in the North Sea and India.